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  • Writer's pictureSeth Greenberg

Ruthless People Is One of a Kind

Released in 1986, comedy Ruthless People, starring Danny DeVito (character-husband: Sam Stone) and Bette Midler (character-wife: Barbara Stone), had one of the most ridiculous plots in movie history. In Ruthless People, main character Sam Stone passionately despises his wife Barbara. Sam believes the only way to get rid of Barbara is with foul play, but soon after these thoughts Barbara ironically goes missing. Realizing she has been captured by a group of kidnappers demanding $500,000, Sam is overjoyed. As Sam repeatedly ignores the kidnappers demands, Barbara starts to reevaluate her relationship with her spouse. As Barbara's relationship starts to diminish with Sam, she grows a closer bond with her kidnappers.

Besides the stupendous plot of the film, writer Dale Launer somehow ties every theme together. No matter how little a theme is, Luaner ties it to the overall plot to make a well-flowing storyline. For example, including the neighborhood's "on the loose" serial killer provided kidnapper Ken Kessler (actor: Judge Reinhold) the ability to escape his sinking car without assistance from a pair of handcuffs and what looked like the whole Los Angeles Police Department. Being able to tie almost all included themes of a plot together is something Ruthless People does flawlessly. At the same time, being able to tie almost all included themes of a plot together is something most modern movies do unsoundly.

Ruthless People, being released in 1986, was able to get away with more extreme comical approaches and techniques. Although more restrained than Soul Man, likewise released in 1986, Ruthless People does include various... well lets just say, "outspoken" choices of humor. The absurdities experienced while watching Ruthless People cannot, as well as will not, be repeated, recreated, or connected to modern films.

-It is not a coincidence that my last few columns have been on older films. Due to impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, I felt like this would be a perfect time to give my input on older films people should watch while in quarantine. I personally have not left my house in 3 weeks, and have been able to maintain my sanity due to movies. Movies have the ability to bring someone out of the house and into different settings such as the flats of Beverly Hills in Garry Marshall's Pretty Woman and all the way into outer space in the 2013 movie Gravity.

P.S: Please practice social distancing and stay safe!!

-Overall, I had a great experience watching Ruthless People because it extremely unique. It differed when compared to modern films in which I have been accustomed to my whole life.

-Seth Greenberg

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